Genesis 22: 9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.“
Abraham didn’t hesitate to do what God had asked him to do. I would love to know what his thoughts were as he and his young son walked to the sacrifice site. He went as far as binding his son and lifting the knife to slay him. God knew then that Abraham would not withhold anything from him if he was willing to give up his cherished son. When God called Abraham just before he was going to sacrifice his son, Abraham simply said, “Here I am.”
Do I say those words? “Here I am God, use me in any way you need to use me.” When things go south in my life, do I say, “Here I am God, I trust you will provide for me in this situation.”
Some days I wake up with so much neck pain I want to cry. Some days I feel so trapped – not just in my facility, because we still have to stay in our rooms, for the most part – but also trapped in this wheelchair. Even after all these years, I sometimes feel like I have a straitjacket on and all I want to do is jump up and go running outside. It’s on those days I need to say, “Here I am. Provide for me today, God. I am unable to provide for myself.”
To make it more applicable to my situation today, I’m taking graduate school classes and the workload is so very heavy. I’ve never been a very disciplined person and quite frankly I hate having to schedule my day and then push myself to get things done. The subject matter right now is very weighty and requires a lot of reading. My class is about hermeneutics and exegesis. I know many of you recognize these terms but I had to look them up before starting the class! I have often felt lost and just wanted withdraw from the class. That’s how I lived my life before – if something was too hard I just walked away from it. I was a quitter.
Galatians 5: 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Yesterday was one of those days. The work felt too overwhelming so I decided to just not do it. Let’s call it a temper tantrum. I didn’t say, “Here I am.” I allowed my flesh to take hold of my day and I did nothing but read about the impeachment trial and scroll through social media. I wrote, maybe, two paragraphs of a 5+ page paper. I know – it’s okay to have “off” days, but as it turns out, at the end of the day I felt depressed and anxious, not to mention guilty for not doing my work.
Today I am led by the spirit of life and I am not condemned (Rom 8:1). God’s steadfast love never ceases and his mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:22-23). Despite what happened yesterday, or last week, or last year, today I can say, “Here I am.”